Web Portal

Initially, the term portal was used to refer to well-known Internet search and navigation sites that provided a starting point for web consumers to explore and access information on the World Wide Web.

Portals are often the first page the web browser loads when users get connected to the Web or that users tend to visit as an anchor site. They offer users a surplus value of service based on the features of classic search engines: a well trained concierge who knows where to search and find; a well-assorted newspaper kiosk that keeps the latest market information about the surfer's personal stocks ready; free communications possibilities like email or discussion boards.

What a portal does:

  • Enables universal login
  • Handles both structured and unstructured data
  • Facilitates multi-channel consistency
  • Facilitates messaging and notification
  • Automated tuning: pervasive content can be tuned based on personalization, location, browser, etc.
  • Integration to other systems

Key features of portals:

  • Security
  • Access different data
  • Transactions
  • Search
  • Publish Content
  • Personal Content

What a portal is not:

  • It is not just a Website (which is usually characterized by static information)
  • It is not just a personalized intranet
  • It is not just a personalized extranet
  • It is not just a personalized front end for business applications
  • It is not just groupware
  • It is not just a personalized knowledge management solution
  • It is not just a sophisticated search engine

Major Functions of Portals?:

  • Search and navigation
  • It is not just a personalized intranet
  • Information integration (content management)
  • Personalization
  • Notification (push technology)
  • Task management and workflow
  • Collaboration and groupware
  • Integration of applications and business intelligence
  • Infrastructure functionality

The numerous solutions can be divided into 3 major groups that partially overlap:

  • Corporate Portals: provide personalized access to selected information of a specific company
  • Commerce Portals: support business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce
  • Pervasive Portals: support access via Pervasive Devices such as PDAs. Particularly this type of vertical portal will have a great stake in the future